At the core of global power stands the conflict between the Sauds (and their Sunni clergy) and the Iranians (and their Shiite clergy). One can’t understand U.S.-Russian relations, nor much else of what is happening in the world, without knowing the relevant historical background; and the origins and nature of the Sunni war against Shiia are arguably the most essential part of that to comprehend just how the United States came to back the Sunnis, and how Russia came to back the Shiites, in this war.
Are we in for another nuclear standoff with the Kremlin?
Much of the political thinking about violence in the United States comes from unfavorable comparisons between the United States and a series of cherry-picked countries with lower murder rates and with fewer guns per capita. This is, in turn, supposed to fill Americans with a sense of shame and illustrate that the United States should be regarded as some sort of pariah nation because of its murder rate. However, politically, historically, and demographically, the US has little in common with these nations.
Neoliberal economics is blind to reality and serves to justify the destruction of the economic prospects of the Western World. It remains to be seen if Russia and China can develop a different economics or whether these rising superpowers will fall victim to the “junk economics” that has destroyed the West. With so many Chinese and Russian economists educated in the US tradition, the prospects of Russia and China might not be any better than ours. The entire world could go down the tubes together.
This is the sort of thing you’d expect to see in a Banana Republic. Which makes perfect sense, because America is a Banana Republic.
"The opening of the new units will feed an artificially created confrontation. [This is] the logic of the Cold War. It runs counter to genuine interests of the European and regional security." - Alexander Grushko, Russian ambassador to NATO.
Initially it was just an unconfirmed rumor circulating in the German FAS media that the local FinMin had proposed a "temporary Grexit" option. It now appears that this was not only not a rumor, but Schauble's sentiment is contagious: moments ago Finnish broadcaster MTV reported that first Finland, and then the Eurozone's smaller, if somewhat more solvent nations, Estonia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia and even the Netherlands, support the German position on temporarily suspending Greece' Euro membership.
"...anyone who knows mathematics can see that the United States is on the verge of collapse because its debt has gone exponential, but no European (never mind American) politician can state the obvious, no matter how obvious it is. American officials and politicians are definitely puppets, controlled by corporate lobbyists and shady oligarchs. But here's a shocker: these are also puppets - controlled by the simple imperatives of profitability and wealth preservation, respectively. In fact, it's puppets all the way down. And what's at the bottom is a giant, ever-expanding, financial black hole."
Have you picked up on the new trope du jour? We are all encouraged to bask in our innocence as we lament the advent of a new Cold War. The thought has been in the wind for more than a year, of course, at least among some of us. But we witness a significant turn, and I hope this same some of us are paying attention. As of this week, leaders who know nothing about leading, thinkers who do not think and opinion-shaping poseurs such as Tom Friedman are confident enough in their case to sally forth with it: The Cold War returns, the Russians have restarted it and we must do the right thing - the right thing being to bring NATO troops and materiel up to Russia’s borders, pandering to the paranoia of the former Soviet satellites as if they alone have access to some truth not available to the rest of us.
MAD – Mutually Assured Destruction – is way over. It kept a somewhat uneasy peace during seven decades of Cold War. Cold War 2.0 is as hardcore as it gets. And with all those Breedhate Strangeloves on the loose, nuclear madness is now at five seconds to midnight.
"If they want to lecture us on democracy building, let them lecture students at some American university," Russia’s Commissioner for Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law Konstantin Dolgov said Tuesday, regarding the collapse of a bilateral arrangement struck in 2009 between Moscow and Washington. Fortunately for Dolgov, it doesn't appear as though he, or any other Russian diplomats for that matter, will be forced to endure a "lecture" on democracy from the US anytime soon because as the positioning of 250 Bradleys and self-propelled howitzers, and associated armored brigade combat team equipment" in Eastern Europe makes clear, the time for dialogue of any kind has long since passed.
A fund manager for one of the largest mutual fund and investment groups in the world, Fidelity, has warned investors and savers to have an allocation to “physical cash,” “including precious metals” to protect against "systemic risk".
The European Commission has ordered 11 EU countries to enact the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive (BRRD) within two months or be hauled before the EU Court of Justice, according to a report from Reuters on Friday.
The EU issued a press release this morning which could perhaps be summed up in 2 words - "not fair." Following the denial-of-entry by Russia of several EU politicians, Russia has released a list of 89 names who will face travel bans - of exactly the same type as EU and US enforced upon numerous Russian elites. Europe is displeased that Russia would dare do unto them as they have done unto others... "we deem this measure as totally arbitrary and unjustified," they exclaimed, adding, "we don’t have any further information on the legal basis or the criteria or the process of these decisions."
Just hours after being force to admit that they were hacked (by Russians apparently), an inspector general's report shows that The IRS has rather remarkably continued to pay refunds on hundreds of thousands of fraudulent tax returns in recent years, and sent dozens of checks to the same addresses, including in Eastern Europe and elsewhere. While some progress has been made, $2.3 billion of real US taxpayer's money was wrongfully refunded to fake US taxpayers... but with this new cyber-attack, we suspect that number will soar.